The Rio Grande Valley, on the southernmost tip of Texas, is a semi-tropical paradise that borders Mexico and includes the Gulf Coast shores. Palm trees and orchards of citrus trees line the roads. Luscious, locally grown citrus fruit and vegetables are readily available at roadside stands, including juicy red Valley grapefruits and sweet Texas Vidalia onions.
The area's year-round pleasant weather brings flocks of Winter Texans escaping the Northern cold. It also brings flocks of birds. The Valley is a flyway between North and South America, creating some of the best birding and butterflying opportunities in the country. To keep these populations healthy and coming, National Wildlife Refuges have been established throughout the region.
The largest city in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville is a mixture of American and Mexican cultures, which is reflected in the area's festivals, architecture and cuisine. A short walk across the border to Matamoros lets you experience first-hand the exotic sights, sounds and shopping of Mexico. In February, birders from around the world come for the Brownsville International Birding Festival.
Dozens of colorful murals depicting its multicultural heritage decorate buildings in Harlingen. A walking tour of downtown Harlingen will bring you within the blend of New and Old World influences. Also, birders can only be pleased with one more event just for them, the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
Just a few minutes away from McAllen are the Mexico border towns of Reynosa and Nuevo Progreso. Shops and markets are filled with unique creations in hand-blown glass, jewelry, ceramics and more. Don't miss the exquisite cuisine and refreshing margaritas. McAllen itself is another nature lover's paradise: it's home to the 588-acre Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, and six wildlife refuges are within an hour's drive. Birders, ever unable to get enough of the Rio Grande, flock to this area to view Mexican species that rarely venture further north.
The Rio Grande Valley is the tip of Texas, at the end of U.S. 77/83.